Members of the Democratic Party of Otero County (DPOC) gathered at the Southeast corner of Tenth Street and White Sands Boulevard to protest in favor of keeping public lands public through the efforts of the United States Forest Service.
An organization called "Stand By Me For Liberty" was joined by a local group of ranchers and Republicans speaking out against the United States Forest Service on the Northwest corner of White Sands Boulevard and Tenth Street.
There were many colorful signs carried by both groups espousing their arguments for and against. Also supporting the DPOC group was Democrat Merrie Lee Soules who is running for Congress against Republican incumbent Steve Pearce. Merrie Lee strongly believes we need to protect our public lands not only for New Mexico, but for the entire nation.
Also attending was Democratic State Senator Bill Soules (Merrie Lee's brother) who was instrumental in helping get the Organ Mountains designated as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. He had the honor of going to Washington and meeting with President Obama when this designation was made. Soules said, "I'm hoping the general public will pay close attention and the public will choose the federal government role as protecting this legacy for all of us, not just a few, but for the many."
Rancher Jeff Swanson said, "I believe if these lands are transferred to the states and counties, they will soon be privatized and sold. They will go to rich corporations, they will go to rich global investors and the American public will be locked out. I think it is crucial to protect our national heritage by fully funding the U.S. Forest Service, the Department of Interior, the BLM, the local fire agencies including the fire departments, county and state fire departments - so that we have the resources to care for this land."
|Nadia Sikes, DPOC Chair, creating another sign|
|Denise Lang, running for State Representative New Mexico House District 51 with her campaign dog|
|Karen Hutchison carrying on with her protest|
|Rancher and Democratic activist Jeff Swanson|
|Donna Swanson expressing her views|
|Rosanna Heath doing her bit to save our public lands|
|Nadia Sikes with her newly created sign|
|Another shot of Rosanna|
|L to R: Unknown lady, Denise Lang and Merrie Lee Soules|
|Merrie Lee Soules addresses the DPOC rally|
|Merrie Lee continuing her address to the group|
|State Senator David Soules addressing the group|
This is all I have to say for now.